at h,c since 2020
Testimonial from 2022
Before I started at hahn,consultants as a (junior ) consultant, I studied industrial engineering at RWTH Aachen University, specialising in materials and process engineering and graduated with a Master of Science. The focus of my Master’s degree was on innovation, entrepreneurship and marketing. In addition to my studies, I did several internships relating to these study topics at larger SMEs as well as at a professional football club, where I also wrote my final thesis. At the same time, I worked right throughout my studies as a workingstudent at a private equity group with a focus on SMEs and venture capital.
Through my experiences so far, especially in the areas of private equity and venture capital, it quickly became clear to me that I am happiest in the project business, where there are new challenges and new people every day. I found the work in SMEs especially interesting as much can be accomplished there. Therefore, I looked for an SME consulting agency for my next career step. I came across hahn,consultants during my studies when my employer mentioned them.
The selection process was actually very fast and very personal. A few days after my application was submitted, the human resource officer at h,c contacted me, and we set a date for an interview for the coming week. There I got to know two of the three managing directors in Haan personally. We exchanged ideas in person, discussed some professional issues and talked through a business case. Furthermore, the personnel development cycle was explained to me, and the average retention times at the individual development levels, as well as the financial development opportunities, were shown. At the end of the interview, it was clear to both parties that we should intensify the selection process, and we set a date for the week after that so that I could meet the third managing director. At the end of this meeting, details of the employment contract were already discussed. In between the two interviews, I was asked to complete a potential and strengths analysis, which was briefly discussed during the second interview.
All in all, it was a very fast and pleasant process, which was characterised by a friendly and personal exchange in a pleasant atmosphere during the interviews. It only took three weeks from my application to the signing of my contract.
Although h,c is a rather small team, it is very structured and professionally organised, especially in the onboarding process. After my office was shown to me, an employee from office management took another new consultant as well as myself around the whole company for an introductory tour, where I had the opportunity to meet each employee personally. For the rest of the day, in-house training about internal processes and the handing over and installation of all necessary equipment (Surface, iPhone) were part of the programme. In the following days, I was assigned to projects so that I could apply my professional knowledge alreadyon the job . In addition, we periodically calculated a business case which reflected an integrated financial plan for a standardised client, thereby preparing me well for my daily project work. It was also especially helpful that new employees were put in an office they shared with an experienced employee so that an experienced contact person was at hand at all times to assist with any queries or questions.
One of the biggest challenges, but at the same time one of the fascinating aspects of my work is the big variety of the tasks, activities and clients. On average, I support three to four clients simultaneously with varying depth and responsibility. This is extremely demanding, especially since the most important issues of each mandate must always be known for queries on the part of the project managers or the client. During the past year, I supported seven clients intensively with a varying selection of topics and temporarily supported at least five clients. The selection of topics ranged from classic business to restructuring concepts , from the economic and operative support as part of daily business to insolvency and optimisation projects, to the application and support for state guarantees as well as merger and acquisition (M&A) projects.
The tasks are as multi-layered as the range of subjects. The project-specific spectrum of tasks ranges from recurring tasks such as the work with integrated finance planning (consisting of earnings, liquidity and cashflow) and controlling tools to specific market research and identifying investors as well as holding of workshops or interviews. Besides the project work, there are also many tasks and challenges. I am being involved more and more in canvassing new clients, especially drafting offers, or I develop tools based on know-how gained from specific projects to assist the company internally to be able to solve problems faster in future. By mastering these multi-layered tasks and challenges, I was able to develop rapidly in my profession, particularly in finance, acquire new competencies and take on more and more responsibility in the h,c environment.
If I get asked about projects worth mentioning, I immediately have to think of an SME group of companies in the food production sector, which I supported right from the beginning. Through regular business management support, be it through the annual update of integrated financial planning or through controlling, I had a pretty good overview of the group of companies. It became particularly exciting towards the end of last year (2021) when we analysed the performance management processes operationally in a small team and jointly identified, or rather are in the process of identifying, potentials to increase profitability; we arecurrently implementing them together. Apart from that, another highlight was the support for one of the biggest manufacturers and dealers of costumes and other accessories for dressing up. Here, we first developed a mission statement of the restructured company concerning an investor process and then a restructuring concept. I must particularly mention here that this was my first all-encompassing restructuring concept and that I could, in close collaboration with my project manager, contribute my own ideas and experience at an early stage about a range of subjectss such as the market and service provision. The challenge here was that everything had to be done at the same time in English as well as in German, as the potential investor was from the USA. Overall, however, I could actually refer to every project, as every project had its highlights, and I could gain much experience and knowledge from each one.
At the beginning of my time at h,c, the programme included an intensive development programme, the so-called ‘basic training’, during which we were shown all h,c-specific tools as well as the basic professional requirements within a short time and which I could apply in due course in my work . The basic training included a refresher course on the basics of business administration as well as a presentation and moderation workshop, which we attended in small groups. Apart from the basic training, every employee has access to a fixed training budget that one can use relatively freely in consultation with management. The core of development takes place, however, during project work. The on-the-job training is an integral part of development at h,c, as training can provide basic knowledge and tools, but applying them to specific and individual situations requires experience and also the support of colleagues in the beginning. Overall, in my opinion, the comprehensive development at h,c can be seen as training for a potenttial managing director of a company.
I would describe the cohesion and the corporate culture at h,c as very personal and informal. This starts with everyone being on first name terms, and that great value is placed on respectful conduct across all areas and hierarchies of the company. In addition, h,c lives the principle of the open door. Not only does management always have an open door and an open ear for all concerns of employees, but consultants generally also have open doors in order to be able to solve simple coordination questions, queries and assistance through the short official channels. Although this is not always easy during the pandemic, the company still tries to organise events outside the office during regular intervals, for instance evenings in the old part of the city, badminton or volleyball games. Company-organised events such as Christmas parties followed by a visit to a club, strategy weekends as well as an incentive trip also strengthen the team structure, as people get to know each other outside the office in a different and more intensive way.
As the workday of a consultant can be very demanding, especially during peak times, it is important to have a balance in one’s work life. I regularly try to go to the gym with my girlfriend to work out a bit and thus physically counteract the strenuous everyday life. On weekends especially, I like spending time with my dog, we enjoy walking in the forest or playing together. My girlfriend and my social contacts must also not be neglected, therefore, we like to get together for games evenings, to go out for something to eat and drink, or to simply relax on the couch and mainly watch soccer, football or series.